Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale - Great Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 9
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty autumn ale. Handcrafted with an assortment of specialty malts and hops, we added a generous amount of pumpkin directly into the brew. Combine this with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice, and you've got a beer that you won't soon forget. Rich, satisfying and slightly spicy, our seasonal ale goes perfectly with your favourite dessert or traditional feast. But like fall, Pumpkin Ale comes but once a year!

(Beer added by: Viggo on 09-29-2007)
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of marty21
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pretty clear nice orange colour with one finger worth of creamy off white head. Settles to a very solid cap and left a bit of lacing at the top of the glass.

S: Very nice pumpkin aroma right off the bat. Then you get the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Maybe a little caramel, but hardly any.

T: The taste is a bit thin but still good. Up front you get all of the spices and more in the after taste is when you get the pumpkin. The pumpkin is more creamy though almost like pumpkin pie.

M: Light to medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

O: A really good take on a Pumpkin ale. I would gladly have another glass of this.

Photo of Stocean1
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a big four finger head into a pint glass - relatively quickly deflated to a thin collar atop a light amber boy - pretty clear with little lacing

S - has pumpkin, banana, biscuit, floral hops, nutmeg

T - follows the nose but somewhat subdued, also a cinnamon note, some mineral flavor, a little nutty

M - not overly sweet, dry, and a little bitter, light to medium body with little carbonation

O - not bad at all - typical for the brewery it has potential but is simply not bold enough in the taste category.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber picked up at the LCBO. Leaked all over when I tried to open it... at least the carpet will smell nice.

Pours a slightly hazy deep amber colour, topped with a finger of silky off-white head that lasts for a few minutes before giving up the ghost. A thin film and collar remain on the surface. The aroma is quite nice, with biscuity, nutty malt sweetness, as well as pumpkin and the whole gamut of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Coalesces to make a nifty pumpkin pie smell.

Pretty tasty stuff. Sweet, biscuity malts, pumpkin and some nutty notes provide the backbone with plenty of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon flavour to add a bit of complexity. Way more spice than pumpkin, which seems like a sin. Medium-light bodied with subtle carbonation. Disappointingly watery for something I assumed would be more of a full-bodied ale, but otherwise tasty.

This is the first pumpkin ale I have ever reviewed, and I would be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't like it. That being said, even as an admitted newcomer to the style, there are some noticeable flaws. None of the flavours are especially intense, and along with the light-ish body this just gives it a bit of a diluted feel. Regardless, it's pleasing enough that I wouldn't shy away from recommending it, and the light, 'polite' nature of the brew makes it a good intro to the style. Something I may pick up next year.

[Updated Sept. 6 2014]

I'd been craving a pumpkin beer, and this one happened to be the first to become available locally this year. I don't think I've had it since 2011, but now that I've had a bunch of other pumpkin ales to compare it to, I figured I'd update its rating. I still don't think this is the best example of the style, but there's nothing all that wrong with it. It's not too spicy, with a nice gourdy flavour in the background and a beautiful aroma. At 5 bucks a bomber, this is a very affordable ale that makes a suitable introduction to the style.

Final Grade: 3.65, a B grade.

Photo of spinrsx
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml Bottle

Appearance – Slightly hazy dark amber colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation visible and there is a faint amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, bread, all spice, pumpkin

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, pumpkin, and some dry hops. There is also a lot of spice taste - all spice.. with a focus on cloves. The beer finishes with a malty spicy aftertaste that linger on the tongue for a while.

Overall – I though the beer was good, but not great. It definitely tasted better as it warmed up in the glass a bit. The taste isn't cloying, but 1 bomber of this stuff was enough for me. I don't think I'd buy this one again.. not this year anyways.

Photo of thirstybrother
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Very nice golden with a touch of amber, or pumpkin. Good head, not much lacing.

S: Maybe my nose is stuffed? No hints of the spices they speak of on the bottle. Maybe some pumpkin, but maybe just because I'm looking for it.

T: This beer isn't terrible, but the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg really seem to be lacking. There are hints, HINTS, of them in the aftertaste, but I shouldn't have to concentrate this hard to find them.

M: Kind of steely. Again, it isn't terrible, but it definitely does not scream pumpkin ale, more like a pale ale with subtle spicy notes.

O: I had this beer last year and recall being very impressed with the spicy/pumpkin flavours. I shared it with a non-craft-beer crowd and they liked it. Guess I should have reviewed it then. I can give GLB the benefit of the doubt, maybe this batch was a rough one. We'll see next year.

Photo of WeedKing4
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden orange, with a decent amount of fluffy white head. Smells of pumpkin pie and cinnamon. The smell really got me excited for trying this, but the flavour is lacking a pumpkin finish. The pumpkin and cinnamon fad almost instantly. Its not a bad pumpkin beer, but based on the smell, I was expecting more flavour then this. Won't be picking this one up again next year.

Photo of peensteen
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden amber colour, one finger of white head, no lacing. Smell is bready and spicy, malt, some hop, nutmeg and cinnamon as well as some nutty character. Taste is malty and bready, the pumpkin is fairly subtle, spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, flavours are more pronounced in finish and when swirled around in your mouth. Lightly creamy, medium carbonation, decent feel. This isn't my favourite pumpkin beer but it is a solid effort, a bomber of this is a little big for personal consumption splitting this was a good idea.

Photo of bryehn
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 edition, I really liked it last year before I joined BA.

Pours a hazy golden colour with copper tinges. Not much in the way of head but a thin and persistant ring. Very little lacing.

Sweet and spicy aroma with a raw pumpkin smell. Honey, cloves and nutmeg with a fresh, grainy backing. Milder than other pumpkin ales and than itself in years past.

Nice pumpkin taste with a roasted malt backing and a solid hop presence. A hefty amount of spice creates a bitterness and the finish is syrupy sweet.

Medium-bodied with a low carbonation. Bitter bite on the tongue and a dry, peppery aftertaste.

Lacks a certain punch. The spices outweigh the pumpkin by a long shot, but it's still a decent after dinner beer that goes well with vanilla ice cream.

Photo of jrenihan
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours quite a light orange, with two finger widths of white head. Quite clear. Head fades to a small layer that stays quite well. Mild lacing.

Smell contains pumpkin, nutmeg and clove. Stronger on the spices than the pumpkin, but it is all there. A bit of a bready malt scent is present as well.

The flavour is much heavier on the spices than the pumpkin, even moreso than the nose. That being said, the pumpkin is obviously present. Some mild hop bitterness at the finish. A bit of a malty backbone throughout. Pretty good.

Medium bodied, a bit too much carbonation, but not bad. Pleasant but unremarkable.

Overall, an enjoyable beer but nothing to get too excited about. Nice to have if you are a fan of pumpkin ales.

Photo of eat
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly cloudy body is a dark, pumpkin-like orange colour. The head dissipates to a very thin covering of off-white. No lacing. Nice colour for a pumpkin ale.

Faint pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) and subtle, vegetal pumpkin, adding a certain creaminess. Caramel malt and light, spicy hops. Pretty weak on the nose.

Not much of the pumpkin or spices are coming through. It reminds me quite a bit of the taste letdown with their Miami Weiss; all the flavours here need to be amplified. Pretty much all I'm getting is a light malt character along with an earthy hop bitterness. Some grain on the finish. The spices are only present enough to make you wonder if they're even there at all. Everything here is much too far over to the cautious side of things. I wouldn't say it's too well balanced either; I could use more malt here. I'm thinking they missed the mark on this one. Not even close to enough pumpkin character.

I think I'd prefer the feel a little creamier but it's not too bad. Medium-high carbonation. More drying than you would expect at this level of bitterness.

It is drinkable. No off flavours and it does go down pretty easily in spite of it's boringness. The only thing holding it back is the drying finish, it's a little too much. If the bottle didn't say Pumpkin Ale, I'm not sure if I would think it was one. I know that pumpkin pie spice isn't something you want to overdo in a beer but for my taste the spices are way underdone. Glad I only picked up one of these, I won't be buying it again.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A much lighter looking and tasting beer than any other pumpkin ale I've enjoyed in North America. Very refreshing and without the cloying malty sweetness found in some harvest ales. Pleasantly spicy aroma followed by a well balanced taste - notes of vanilla and pumpkin and many other spices. Well balanced with a nice dry finish.

Have enjoyed this beer in cask, draught and bottle form - and (unusually) the bottle is my favourite. It is light and refreshing, but somewhat limited in flavour complexity.

Photo of tbeckett
3.05/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours bright. Orange to dark golden in colour with no head and mild carbonation.

S - Spices. Lot's of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice. There is a little pumpkin too but the spices dominate for the most part.

T - Spices dominate again. Mild pumpkin with lingering baking spice.

M - Light with little carbonation.

D - Good but not my thing. Too much spice, not enough pumpkin for a pumpkin beer.

Photo of MattyV
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep-gold colour with a fluffy white head that shrinks down to a thin cap. Not much lacing.

S - Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves mostly, as well as some biscuity malt. Overall, pretty dull.

T - Bready/biscuity malt with a slightly fruity character, the spice is there but not overpowering, the hops provide floral notes and lead to a crisp lightly bitter finish.

M - Light-bodied, pretty highly carbonated.

D - The flavour doesn't blow you away with intensity, but its still relatively complex and nicely balanced. Not my favourite pumpkin beer of the season, but probably one of Great Lakes' best offerings at the LC

Photo of mdaschaf
2.9/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for this one! Poured from a bomber into an Evolution pint glass

A: Pours a clear light orange, lighter than others in this style I have had. Nice one finger head that dissolves into a layer of white bubbles on top of the beer. No lacing.

S: I get some of the typical spices here, but relatively weak. Also get a hint of alcohol.

T:Not much, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of spice. Dry finish.

M/D: Thinner than expected. Overall not great, on of the weakest pumpkins I have had so far. A pass.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.6/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this as part of a Pumpkin Ale tasting event. Poured into a nonic glass.

Light copper-golden, a thin, foamy head that recedes after a few moments. Some visible carbonbation.

Nose is pretty dull - pale malts, light hops, only a faint nutmeg, pumpkin scent that I could barely detect - others with me could not.

For a beer that markets itself as a pumpkin ale, where exactly is the pumpkin??? Unlike the noble jack o lantern, which features prominently on your front step or in your window, the pumpkin here chooses instead to hide in the back, only making rare visits as the beer warms up. The spicy flavor is not all that enjoyable either - more tinny and artificial. If this were a well made pale ale with subtle pumpkin notes, this could be excused, but sadly, it is not. Truth be told, I had trouble finishing it.

Mouthfeel is thin, carbonation provides a light sting.

I had been warned about this brew by a few friends, but I thought I'd give it a go, despite having developed a mistrust of Great Lakes LCBO offerings. Comparing this brew to others of the style, and it's not even close.

Poor effort, won't pick up again.

Photo of kjyost
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is smack between Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en, and lo and behold, a pumpkin beer at LC. Who would thunk it? May as well give this style a shot...

A: Nothing special here. An amber brew, clear as day, with a fizzy white head that recedes and does not lace. May as well be a pale ale...

S: Intriguing. Light cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin underneath it all. Some sweetness later comes into play.

T: Served around 6-8C, and the beer can be best described as muted. Low malt character, no real breadiness in the beer. The spices are there, but just barely. If the body matched the nose it would be better. Too light on every aspect of the taste. Later in a few mouthfuls I think "yup, there's the pumpkin" but by that time I am getting a nasty lingering aftertaste...

(EDIT: Interestingly I left a glass out for 1 hour and it really came around giving a strong taste of roasted pumpkin, but the aftertaste still lingered)

M/D: Easy drinking, actually quite crisp and finishes dry. Could easily have been a poorly made pale ale save the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that sometimes come about.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to a brandy snifter

A - Orage/yellow colour; very light for a pumpkin beer. Small amount of thin white head.

S - Some warm spices up front - specifically cinnamon & nutmeg, along with a nice pumpkin flavour.

T - A nice spice flavour of cinnamon and nutmeg come through initially with a nice pumpkin backbone providing the base for this ale. Somewhat light compared to other pumpkin beers but very enjoyable nonetheless.

M - Light body, lightly carbonated.

D - A nice pumpkin beer. Only complaint is the overly light body.

Photo of SuperSnake
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer.
Appearance:
Pours deep orange with a carbonated foamy head that settles to a light cap on the top of the beer.

Smell:
light cinnamon spicy smell close to a light pumpkin pie smell.

Taste:
About the same as the smell more spicy with the slightest pumpkin flavor

Mouthfeel:
very smooth and lightly carbonated

Drinkability:
Only 5.5% so very seasonable and would love to do so

Photo of korguy123
3.05/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into DFH Signature Glass.
Part of the Halloween release at the LCBO.

A- Clear rich amber pour, Carbonation is surprisingly light. Two finger white head, lacing is good.

S- Pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. All smells are quite subtle and muted. Very bland as far as pumpkin beers go.

T- Spices and pumpkin almost non-existent. Brown sugar, vanilla with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Thin feeling slight carbonation bite.

D- Good, but one bomber is enough for me.

Overall little disappointed in this one. Was expecting more of a pumpkin smell and taste from this one. First year for pumpkin beers, and first year for this one and I have to say this is the weakest out of all the ones I've tried so far.

Photo of heebes
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Welcoming in the fall season.
Pours a light gold colour, some head which dissipates quickly. Good amount of carbonation.
The nose is strong, I could smell the beer upon opening. A spice aroma is dominant. Cinnamon and pumpkin also present.
The taste is a little weak, tasting more like an ale than any sort of major flavoured specialty beer. It's a bit sour to begin with the light pumpkin and spice flavour lingering.
Again, light mouthfeel. Watery texture, a little underwealming.
Overall this is a rather average take on the pumpkin ale. I would have preferred a more flavourful and upfront spice taste. For whats available at this point in ON though, it's a great change of pace!

Photo of kwjd
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yay for pumpkin beer season! I have been waiting for 10 months for pumpkin beers to come back. It is a shame that we don't just assign another month, say April, to be the mid-year pumpkin month so at least it would be twice a year. Anyways, on with the review...

Pours a deep golden orange with thick white head. As the head dissipates, still leaves a small ring on the top of the beer with spotty lacing around the glass. Smells of beautiful pumpkin pie - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and other assorted spices. Some hops and bread malt too Flavour has mild bitterness with sweet pumpkin pie. This is my favourite of the Great Lakes seasonals.

Photo of Luk13
2.55/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle. Pale orange pour with thin white head. Good spicy aroma, cloves, cinnamon and definite pumpkin aromas. Taste is rather mild, still some candycane, spice and a very earthy kind of bitter finale. Watery mouthfeel. Not a fan of pumkins and rather hard to drink.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a clear amber / deep honey colour. Lots of head which dimples and drops at a medium pace, leaving some lacing.

It has a sweet smell, similar to some raspberry wheat ales I've had. A bit of the cinnamon or clove also comes out.

Pretty good taste - a bit of that sharpness or sweetness that I get from some fruit ales or beers with yeast still in the bottle. At first, it tastes like a fairly normal ale, perhaps a bit too fruity for my liking. The middle part of each sip is where the pumpkin comes out, but it's more raw pumpkin / "warmed-up Jack-o-lantern" than it is pumpkin pie, which I expected / was hoping for. The end of each sip, and afterwards, is when the spice comes out. It's the best part of each taste.

It feels OK in the mouth... not too watery; fizzy. But not overly.

As for drinkability, it's alright. One 650ml bottle is enough.

Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.